College Continuous Improvement 1200X506

College Access

Strengthening Cultures of Continuous Improvement in College Advising


College advisors from Cedar Hill ISD, DeSoto ISD, Grand Prairie ISD, Education is Freedom, and Academic Success Program came together as an Impact & Improvement Network to strengthen their continuous improvement skills and impact postsecondary enrollment through growing the number of seniors completing FAFSA applications.

Communities achieve results more quickly when they have a chance to work together and learn from each other. Collectively, the districts participating helped 1,686 seniors complete FAFSA applications by July 1, 2017. This represents a collective 63% FAFSA completion rate (compared to a 55% completion rate by non-participating districts) and is up from 48% last year.

True continuous improvement means you are tracking the data, identifying whether or not an intervention was successful or not and folding that information back into what you do.

The Impact & Improvement Network participants shifted their use of FAFSA data from reporting to identifying practices and strategies that move outcomes. In partnership with Commit!’s postsecondary team, participants practiced:

  • Identifying which step in the financial aid process causes themost challenges for the most students using their experience and student and parent input
  • Refining strategies to help students overcome those challenges
  • Charting FAFSA data bi-weekly to see how effective their strategies were
  • Actively adjusting practices based on strategy efficacy

Those who attended the Dallas County College Completion Alignment Council meeting on August 30, 2017 collaborated on effective FAFSA/TASFA completion practices with participants and college advisors. The meeting included a FAFSA/TASFA Showcase with resources, tools, and an “effective practice” gallery walk from ocal campuses with high year-over-year growth in FAFSA completion rates. The Alignment Council meeting also included space to learn and discuss effective practices for supporting DREAMer/DACAmented students from local college bound advisor, Ann Marano, and the North Texas Dream Team.

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